Arkansas and Pennsylvania are the twin epicenters of the political universe today. For what it’s worth, here are my predictions – although, to members of the gambling community, I have to say that these are intended for entertainment purposes only:
Pennsylvania Senate: Arlen Specter wins the Democratic nomination.
Arlen Specter’s support from what’s left of organized labor’s infrastructure and African American voters will determine his fortunes today. Remember that there were an awful lot of moderate and independent registered Republicans who switched parties in 2008 to participate in the Democratic presidential primary, which is why Specter has a shot.
Arkansas Senate: Bill Halter forces a runoff, which he will win.
Arkansas has two moderate Senators, but Blanche Lincoln gets the label of being squishy while everyone loves Mark Pryor. Whether it’s the good-old-boys’-club stereotype I unfairly have of Southern politics (it actually applies to all politics) or the fact that she isn’t the scion of a former Governor like her colleague, Lincoln seems to get the short end of this stick.
This race is more interesting because Lincoln is nearly always a swing vote on legislation – the Democrats’ equivalent of Olympia Snowe. How a runoff or a lame duck session will affect her voting record will make for interesting political theater.
Pennsylvania-12: Pro-life, pro-gun Democrat Mark Critz takes the seat held by his late boss, John Murtha.
Democrats will mistakenly see this as validation of the ruling regime and the quieting of the anti-incumbent trend. To a small degree, it will be – but only so far as they work across the aisle.
The real question will be if Critz is able to survive multiple terms, given that he won’t have the seniority his late boss used to siphon federal budget dollars back to the district.